A citizen of the United Kingdom was arrested today in Estepona, Spain, by the Spanish National Police following a request for arrest by the United States on several counts relating to the Twitter hack in July 2020 which resulted in the compromise of more than 130 Twitter accounts, including those belonging to politicians, celebrities and companies.
Joseph OConnor, 22, is indicted in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
According to court documents, in addition to the Twitter hack of July 15, 2020, OConnor is accused of computer intrusions linked to takeovers of TikTok and Snapchat user accounts. OConnor is also accused of cyberstalking a young victim.
OConnor is charged with three counts of conspiring to intentionally gain unauthorized access to a computer and obtain information from a protected computer; two counts of intentionally accessing a computer without authorization and obtaining information from a protected computer; one count of conspiracy to intentionally gain unauthorized access to a computer and, with the intent to extort something of value from a person, to transmit a communication containing a threat; one count of having made extorting communications; one count of threatening communication; and two counts of cyberstalking. If O’Connor is found guilty, a federal district court judge will determine the sentence after considering US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds for the Northern District of California, and Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair of the US Field Office. FBI in San Francisco made the announcement.
The FBI division in San Francisco is investigating the case, with assistance from the IRS-Criminal Investigation Cyber Unit; the US Secret Service, San Francisco and Headquarters; and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office and its REACT task force.
Adrienne Rose, deputy deputy chief of the computer crime and intellectual property section of the penal divisions, and deputy U.S. prosecutors William Frentzen and Andrew Dawson of the U.S. District Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California are continuing the case.
The Office of International Affairs of the Ministry of Justice provides important assistance. The UK National Crime Agency and the Spanish National Police assisted in the investigation and arrest.
Allegations of a criminal complaint are only one allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.
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